Figure this one out: Free money. No takers.
There isn't a ton of money in the Duluth Legacy Endowment Fund. Not yet. But with City Hall laying off employees, slashing library hours, ignoring graffiti and letting the grass grow long in many parks, the fund's every dollar certainly could be ...
There isn't a ton of money in the Duluth Legacy Endowment Fund. Not yet. But with City Hall laying off employees, slashing library hours, ignoring graffiti and letting the grass grow long in many parks, the fund's every dollar certainly could be put to good use.
So why then, in the face of seemingly never-ending cutbacks, aren't city departments and eligible others falling all over themselves to get at the cash? Inexplicably, as reported in today's paper, not one grant application has been received by the fund, part of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, during the fund's current granting cycle.
"It's a good question," Nancy Norr, chair of the fund's board, told the News Tribune editorial page yesterday. "The deadline is Oct. 1. There are a few more days."
Three business days, to be precise. And that's after the deadline was extended from August because of a lack of interest.
Who could have anticipated such a tepid response to free money in 2005 when the legacy fund was created? Then, block grants from the federal government were being cut and local government aid from the state slashed. The fund, city officials envisioned, would help pay for niceties, such as playground equipment, community center improvements and library repairs.
The need has only grown as the fund started to fill with cash from private donors, city employee contributions via voluntary payroll deductions and proceeds from the sales of the DVD, "Gateway to the World."
A little more than $50,000 sits in the fund now, with a goal of raising $250,000 by April. Only interest generated from the principal would be granted to city departments or to organizations with relationships to the city -- groups such as Friends of the Library or neighborhood clubs.
A pair of $500 grants has been awarded, one to make kitchen repairs following a fire at the Harrison Community Recreation Center and the other to help Grant Elementary students learn about nature and public service through a project at Hartley Nature Center.
But that's been it.
The Duluth Legacy Endowment Fund won't solve all of Duluth's budget problems, but it can help fill gaps and pay for amenities that make Duluth a special place to live.
Grants of up to $2,500 are available. A deadline is looming.
Won't someone please step up for some free money?